The Minnesota Vikings added several noteworthy pieces to the franchise this offseason, steering the ship away from the 7-9 doldrums that were on display during the pandemic season. Oddly, all of the bodies were cut from a defensive cloth, leaving the NFL draft as the venue for offensive improvement.
These men were added via free agency:
- Mackensie Alexander (CB)
- Bashaud Breeland (CB)
- Amari Henderson (CB)
- Parry Nickerson (CB)
- Patrick Peterson (CB)
- Sheldon Richardson (DT)
- Tye Smith (CB)
- Dalvin Tomlinson (DT)
- Nick Vigil (LB)
- Stephen Weatherly (DE)
- Xavier Woods (S)
The draft was used to [finally] formulate an offensive line plan, a section of the roster that has long caused fans to roll eyeballs to the backs of sockets. Christian Darrisaw (LT) and Wyatt Davis (RG) are the pieces in the trenches to be familiar with. Then, general manager Rick Spielman drafted Kellen Mond in the 3rd Round to serve as a contingency plan and QB2 behind Kirk Cousins. For many fans, this was intoxicating as Minnesota hasn’t gone ultra-youthful at quarterback since Christian Ponder in 2011 and Teddy Bridgewater in 2014.
But Bleacher Report bucks the Mond flair, instead prognosticating that the Vikings will rue the decision not to draft Justin Fields. In an article detailing each NFL team’s upcoming regret from the offseason, the lack of Fields was it for Minnesota. Kristopher Knox from Bleacher Report wrote:
The Minnesota Vikings have acted like they’re close to moving on from quarterback Kirk Cousins. They used a third-round draft pick on Texas A&M signal-caller Kellen Mond and tried to make a play for Ohio State’s Justin Fields. “As disclosed in a video published by the Panthers, the Vikings called Carolina in an attempt to trade up from No. 14 to No. 8 in the first round of the 2021 draft,” Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk wrote. “Per a league source, the Vikings were targeting quarterback Justin Fields.” Minnesota didn’t land the No. 8 selection, and Fields fell to the NFC North rival Bears at No. 11—Chicago traded up to get that pick from the New York Giants. This makes failing to land Fields doubly painful for the Vikings. Obviously, they tried to make a move for Fields, the Vikings’ preferred quarterback prospect. However, they’re still going to massively regret not making it happen if he develops into a franchise quarterback and leads a division foe for the next decade-plus.
Fields strangely tumbled on draft night after a few months were utilized to determine if he or Trey Lance would be selected at #3 by the San Francisco 49ers. In the end, it was Lance, creating a plunge from Fields all the way to the Vikings rival — the Chicago Bears. Now, Minnesota will go to war with Fields twice annually — when the Bears actually anoint him the starter. The team insists that longtime Bengals passer Andy Dalton is “their guy” for now.
The Vikings could have seized Fields via trade after the Denver Broncos passed on the Ohio State Buckeye. During the draft’s first couple of hours, Denver declining a Fields future was the most stunning moment. They chose Patrick Surtain II, a cornerback, as an alternative.
But the Vikings opted not to audition fields, pivoting to an offensive line emphasis with a side dish of the aforementioned Mond.
And, yes, if Fields rapidly becomes Mahomesesque, Spielman will kick himself for it — especially if the Kirk Cousins experiment ends with a whimper.
There is always the hope that Mond blossoms, too, though. That would lessen the Fields jealousy.
According to Chris Simms — who has a remarkable recent track record of scouting rookie signal-callers — Mond will be just fine.
He had Mahomes above Trubisky. Lamar #1 too. Herbert #2 last year after Burrow. Think on this:
Chris Simms' QB 2021 QB rankings:
1. Zach Wilson
2. Trevor Lawrence
3. Mac Jones
4. Kellen Mond
5. Justin Fields https://t.co/SozOLn42ch
— Warren Ludford (@wludford) April 23, 2021